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Bible Commentaries

Arno Gaebelein's Annotated Bible
2 Samuel 13

 

 

Verses 1-39

3. Further Chastisement: Amnon, Tamar, and Absalom

CHAPTER 13

1. Amnon’s wicked desire (2 Samuel 13:1-5)

2. The incest (2 Samuel 13:6-14)

3. His hatred (2 Samuel 13:15-18)

4. Amnon murdered (2 Samuel 13:19-36)

5. Absalom’s flight (2 Samuel 13:37-39)

“Behold I will raise up evil against thee out of thine own house.” This was Jehovah’s sentence and it is now carried out. The evil which he had nourished in his heart, the passion which he had fed now breaks out in his own family. His oldest sons and Tamar, a daughter of David, half sister to Amnon, are the chief actors in the first tragedy. Amnon means “faithful.” Thus he should have been, but he is the very opposite. Brought up in the midst of scenes of license, as it must have been in David’s harem, the lust of the flesh gets the upper hand and the awful deed, a positive transgression of the law (Leviticus 20:17) is committed. The deed had been precipitated by a satanic adviser, Jonadab, a subtle man, and when it was done violent hate gave way to the violent passion of Amnon. Unhappy Tamar, outraged, insulted and hated, appears with her virgin-princess gown torn, ashes on her head, her hand on top of her head (the oriental way of expressing a heavy burden) and crying, and her brother Absalom discovers the reason of her sorrow. He then hated his brother Amnon. David heard of it also and was very wroth, but he made no attempt to deal with his son. We do not read a word that he even rebuked him. “The gloss of the Septuagint is likely to be correct, that David left unpunished the incest of Amnon with Tamar, although committed under peculiarly aggravating circumstances, on account of his partiality to him as being his first born son. This indulgence on the part of his father may also account for the daring recklessness which marked Amnon’s crime. But a doting father, smitten with moral weakness, might find in the remembrance of his own past sin an excuse for delay, if not a barrier to action; for it is difficult to wield a heavy sword with a maimed arm” (History of Judah and Israel).

After two years the reckoning day comes. Absalom (the father of peace) becomes the murderer of his brother. It was an awful deed. In the midst of merrymaking, Amnon filled with wine, with no chance to repent, is cruelly slain. The sword is unsheathed and fell upon David’s house. The harvest is on. What a man soweth that he will reap-murder for murder. It was an awful blow to David, for Amnon, his beloved first-born, the son of Ahinoam, was dead. Exaggerated tidings reach the court of David. “Absalom hath slain all the King’s sons and there is not one of them left.” And wicked Jonadab, the instigator of Amnon’s crime, appears again and acts as comforter of the king. Jonadab is one of the most abominable characters in Bible history. We do not read of him again. Absalom, the fratricide, fled to Talmai, his maternal grandfather. He remained there three years; so this chapter covers a period of five years. Alas! who was responsible for it all? The scenes of lust and murder, outrage and bloodshed, revolt and rebellion, sorrow upon sorrow, grief upon grief, start with David’s great sin. Pardoned he was, restored in every sense of the word, yet God maintains His holiness and chastised His servant.

 


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Bibliography Information
Gaebelein, Arno Clemens. "Commentary on 2 Samuel 13:4". "Gaebelein's Annotated Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/gab/2-samuel-13.html. 1913-1922.

Lectionary Calendar
Tuesday, November 12th, 2019
the Week of Proper 27 / Ordinary 32
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